khaleejtimes, Sunday, Aug 13, 2017 | Zul Qaadah 21, 1438
GST slabs could be reduced
The number of tax slabs in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime would be
reduced with improvement in revenue, Union Minister of State for Finance and
Corporate Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said here on Saturday.
With the exempted category, the existing tax slabs are of five, 12, 18 and 28
Defending the different slabs, he said the central government was trying to
introduce the new tax system with the consent of states and did not want to
"The centre could have taken decisions in the GST council on the basis of
majority but that was not done," the minister said at an interactive session
organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce.
Meghwal also said as many as 1.32 million new dealers have registered themselves
in the system so far after the implementation of GST. Out of these, 56,000 were
from West Bengal, the highest in India.
He said total number of registered dealers in the indirect tax system in the
pre-GST regime was eight million. Describing the GST Network (GSTN) as a
"perfect system", he said: "We must be facing some teething problems but it is a
perfect system. The new system will remove inspector raj and there will be no
human interface. The government will improve the GSTN system." He said the GST
Council would take its decision on how to extend the excise duty benefits for
the entities with operations in the northeast.
3% on gold too low
Meanwhile, the GST rate of three per cent on gold is low and needs to be
increased as it is consumed by the "very rich", Chief Economic Advisor Arvind
Subramanian said, author of the Economic Survey.
According to Economic Survey Volume II 2016-17, which tabled in Parliament on
Friday, "the tax on gold and jewellery products - items that are
disproportionately consumed by the very rich - at three per cent is still low."
The document also stated that there was a need to tax education and healthcare.
"Keeping health and education completely out is inconsistent with equity because
these are services consumed disproportionately by the rich," it said.
Health and education are outside the tax net altogether, exempted under the GST
and not otherwise taxed by the centre and states.